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Penalties, poor tackling prevent Baylor from winning in Arizona

Penalties, poor tackling prevent Baylor from winning in Arizona
January 02
08:18 2014
No. 96 freshman defensive tackle Byron Bonds expresses his grief after missing a sack during the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears lost 42-52 to the Knights. Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

No. 96 freshman defensive tackle Byron Bonds expresses his grief after missing a sack during the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears lost 42-52 to the Knights.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

By Greg DeVries
Editor-in-Chief

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Baylor’s 52-42 loss to the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl can be summed up pretty concisely. After looking at the stat sheet, the number of penalties and penalty yards stand out. What the stat sheet doesn’t show, however, is the number of missed tackles that helped UCF get the ball down the field.

Baylor tallied 17 penalties to give UCF 135 yards. The Fiesta Bowl record for penalties is 18, and giving an opponent 135 yards is difficult to triumph over.

“Seventeen. There were a couple [penalties] there late,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “I mean, our guy gets a late one on the last extra point, which is a little bit asinine. That’s something that shouldn’t have. That’s the only time he’s on the field, he gets one there. So, yeah, I cannot remember the time that we’ve had that many penalties in a game, without question. Certainly hard to overcome.”

UCF was able to hold its penalty yards to just 40 on four flags. Coming into the game, Baylor had accumulated the most penalties per game in the nation with 8.58. The Bears were flagged 120 times in their 13 games. UCF only commits 4.83 penalties per game, which puts them in the top 40 in the nation.

“As a team, you never want to have a lot of penalties,” senior safety Ahmad Dixon said. “It’s very frustrating. I’m not just speaking for our defense, but for the team as a whole. That’s very frustrating to have as many penalties as we had. You said we had 17? I don’t know very many ball clubs that can win with 17 penalties in one game. With a good team like that, I mean, what happened tonight is going to happen to you if you have 17 penalties against a team like that.”

As for the missed tackles, Dixon said that the field, which was surprisingly wet considering that University of Phoenix Stadium is a dome and is located in the desert, did not play a role in the team’s inability to bring down ball carriers.

“Honestly, in a football game, things like that can’t matter,” Dixon said. “That’s something we can’t control. We have to go out there and adapt to the situation, adapt to everything. We can’t say we missed tackles because of the field or we missed tackles because of this or that. We’re a football team. As a defense, that’s what we have to do. We didn’t tackle well, so that’s what it is.”

UCF players, especially its wide receivers, were routinely able to block Baylor defenders that tried to make plays on the ball. This made it difficult for the Baylor secondary to get around to the ball and make a play. UCF head coach George O’Leary said that he was pleased with his wide receivers’ blocking down the field.

“I always said if you want us to throw you the ball, you’ve got to be able to block,” O’Leary said. “Any time you see chunk plays in the run game, you usually have a receiver corps that’s blocking well downfield. I thought they did a great job of getting hands on people, they were on their feet. Again, I thought the runners did a good job of utilizing them downfield as far as blockers were concerned.”

It wasn’t just the receiving corps that was able to create space for ball carriers. UCF junior quarterback Blake Bortles was able to find running lanes throughout the game and finished with 93 yards on just eight carries, one of which went for a touchdown. He attributed the rushing success to good blocking as well.

“That was the second time we had gone back to that play,” Bortles said about his touchdown run. “The first time, you know, we had a little mishap. [Sophomore tight end] Kevin [Miller] made a great block outside. [Junior left tackle] Torrian [Wilson] did a good job of getting up to the outside backer. I guess he fell down or something. I guess he was behind me. They did a great job of blocking that play up.”

This was the first BCS game for both teams. Briles said after the game that he did not prepare the Bears the way that he needed to. Whether it was lack of preparation or something else, Baylor missed an opportunity return home as Fiesta Bowl champions, and that was due in part to poor tackling and penalties.

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Second half of the Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Editor

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor fans show their spirit in front of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, before the Fiesta Bowl match between Baylor and UCF.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Sam Mills takes a picture of fans posing by a giant Bryce Petty sign at College Football's Biggest Party hosted by Tostitos before the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Long Beach, Calif. resident and Baylor fan Melia Lapham rides a mechanical bull during Tostitos "College Football's Biggest Party" tailgating event before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Plano resident and Baylor fan Harrison Gore leaps over a mechanical arm during the Tostitos "College Football's Biggest Party" tailgating event before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor fans pose with their spirit sign at College Football Biggest Party hosted by Tostitos before the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor Athletics Director Ian McCall performs a Sic'Em at the Tostitos "College Football's Biggest Party" tailgating event before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Houston freshman Taylor Houston rides a mechanical bull while attending "College Football's Biggest Party" gameday tailgate hosted by Tostitos before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor fans are able to dress up and a Tostitos costume and have their picture taken in front of a University of Phoenix Stadium field background while at Tostitos "College Football's Biggest Party" tailgating event before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Tuscan, Ariz. freshman Austin McDonald does a Sic'em with alumnus Richard Helmer outside the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, before the Fiesta Bowl match between Baylor and UCF.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor fans cheer as the Bears enter the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2013, for the Fiesta Bowl game against the University of Central Florida. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Baylor head coach Art Briles enters the University of Phoenix Stadium field for the Fiesta Bowl game against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears ended up being defeated 52-42 by the Knights.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 25 junior running back Lache Seastrunk rushes the ball for a firstdown during the Fiesta Bowl game on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 25 junior running back Lache Seastrunk is tackled by UCF No. 31 linebacker Sean Maag and No. 38 cornerback Jordan Ozerities during the Fiesta Bowl game on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 42 junior wide receiver Levi Norwood carries the ball in for a touchdown during the Fiesta Bowl matchup against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 42 junior wide receiver Levi Norwood is lifted into the air by No. 75 offensive tackle Troy Baker during the Fiesta Bowl matchup against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 14 junior quarterback Bryce Petty leaps over UCF No. 12 redshirt freshman cornerback Jacoby Glenn for a touchdown during the second quarter of the Fiesta Bowl in the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears trail the Knights 20-28 at the half.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

A Baylor fan holds up a Sic'Em claw during the Fiesta Bowl game at the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 25 senior nickelback Sam Holl recovers a UCF fumble during the Fiesta Bowl game at the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears were defeated 42-52 by the Knights.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

First half of the Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Editor

2014 Fiesta Bowl

UCF No. 2 wide receiver Jeff Godfrey is tackled by No. 25 senior nickelback Sam Holl and No. 13 sophomore safety Terrell Burt during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears lost 52-42 to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

The Baylor Golden Wave Marching Band performes their halftime show during the Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 5 senior linebacker Eddie Lackey blocks a pass from UCF No. 5 quarterback Blake Bortles during the Fiesta Bowl game against the University of Central Florida. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 42 junior wide receiver Levi Norwood carries the ball for a firstdown during the Fiesta Bowl matchup against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 14 junior quarterback Bryce Petty rushes the ball in for a touchdown during Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a 42-52 loss to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 14 junior quarterback Bryce Petty holds up a number one after carrying the ball in for a touchdown during Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a 42-52 loss to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 14 junior quarterback Bryce Petty celebrates after rushing the ball in for a two-point conversion during Fiesta Bowl game in the University of Phoenix stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a 42-52 loss to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 8 senior running back Glasco Martin rushes the ball in for a touchdown during the Fiesta Bowl matchup against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 8 senior runningback Glasco Martin holds up a number one sign after scoring a touchdown during the Fiesta Bowl matchup against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears suffered a devastating loss to the Knights 42-52.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 96 freshman defensive tackle Byron Bonds expresses his grief after missing a sack during the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears lost 42-52 to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 43 senior kicker Aaron Jones kicks the final point of the game during the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Bears lost 42-52 to the Knights.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

Bay City senior Michael Webbon expresses his dismay as the Bears trail the Knights 52- 42 near the end of the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

2014 Fiesta Bowl

No. 16 senior receiver Tevin Reese exits the field with a towel over his head after the Bears suffered a devasting 52-42 loss to the UCF Knights in the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

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